A Vain Society

Russia's intrusion into Ukraine's autonomous region of Crimea could spark a full blown war, but people are more captivated by the looks of Crimea's secretary general.
Russia’s intrusion into Ukraine’s autonomous region of Crimea could spark a full blown war, but people are more captivated by the looks of Crimea’s secretary general.

Never before in history has vanity become a big focus in our society than in this current generation. This time that we live in is the generation of selfies, a camera shot where the sole subject matter is the person taking it. This is the generation of reality television, where individuals allow millions of people to tune in to their personal lives through a TV show. This is the generation of ‘likes’ and ‘followers’, where people are emotionally invested in the amount of following their social media profiles receive.

A dose of confidence is not necessarily a bad thing, but when one becomes too engrossed in themselves it turns to a moral disease known as narcissism. It’s not hard to admit that the world we live in today has been hit with this disease in the scale of a pandemic. Only in our time can a news report about a pop star’s wedding share the same airtime as a major conflict in the Middle East. We have become obsessed with the fairytale stories, in turn forgetting that this world we live in is the far from being one.

Last month we were hit with the tragic news of a lost Malaysian Airlines plane and the missing 239 people on board that flight. Emotions of grief struck the world and the families of those passengers must have felt an unimaginable amount of pain. There were several scenarios being considered, a terrorist hijack or electrical problems were among them. It also came to our attention how two of the people on board were travelling with stolen passports, highlighting the illegal immigration troubles that is so prominent within South East Asia.

Report after report of scattered debris along the Indian Ocean have kept us glued to our screens these past few weeks, hoping that any sign of wreckage from the plane could be found to at least to give closure to the passengers’ family members. The race is also on to find the plane’s black box on time before batteries run dry and information of the flight’s final moments would be gone forever.

There was so much to scrutinize about the incident, but instead the buzz lately has been about a Royal Australian Air Force pilot and his Prince Charming-esque good looks. Lieutenant Russell Adams’ claim to fame is his role as the media liaison for any updates on the RAAF’s search for possible plane debris in the Indian Ocean. His interview was full of valuable information – being the pilot of the P-3 reconnaissance plane that has been scouring the waters around Australia – but instead what viewers got from his interview was his level of attractiveness.

Some of the social media comments that were put in included:

Wtf who is this beautiful man on my screen? MARRY ME RUSSELLADAMS

I’d like to debrief Flight Lieutenant RussellAdams

Royal Australian Air Force Lt RussellAdams ~ such a hottie!

Not to take anything away from Lt. Adams, he may posses movie star good looks but I’m arguing that his comments are more crucial and deserving of our attention than his appearance. The fate of the plane could be revealed in the next few days or so, if we keep tantalizing over his looks would we still remember what Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 was by that time?

Also in the news is the deepening crisis in the Russia-Ukraine border, in the struggle for the autonomous region of Crimea.  The crisis unfolded in late February 2014 in the aftermath of the Ukrainian Revolution which resulted in President Viktor Yanukovich’s impeachment by the Ukrainian parliament after his flight from the capital, and the interim appointment of a new government. Russia’s Vladimir Putin quickly declared the impeachment illegal and elitist and swooped in to occupy the former Soviet Union territory of the Crimean Peninsula, just 10 hour away from Ukraine’s capital of Kiev.

Discussions of a Crimean referendum in place, where its’ residents would decide if they would still be part of Ukraine, become independent or join Russia. This was made worse by protests and rallies all over Sevastopol, of ethnic Russians screaming: “Crimea is Russian!” and other chants of support for Russia to annex the Crimean region. The peninsula is mostly made up of ethnic Russians, a staggering sixty percent. This gave Putin more leverage in his plan to annex Crimea.

By the end of February, Russian troops had seized control of the Supreme Court and the Council of Ministers – putting the fate of Crimea in a transition.

Again, this incident posed a lot of scenarios to worry about. From a possible armed confrontation between Russia and Ukraine to a full-blown international conflict. Criticism of Russia’s actions came heavily from the United States and the European Union, with President Barack Obama publicly stating that the aggressive actions could cause “consequences.”

A rhetoric of that tone would send stock markets in a panic and mobilize armed forces,  with the Crimean crisis being described as the ‘biggest threat to European security’ since the Cold War. But it seems many spectators have been more preoccupied admiring the attractive blonde who is Crimea’s attorney general.

Natalia Poklonskaya seems to remove tense emotions about the conflict whenever viewers see her on the news. The 33-year old worked as a senior lawyer at the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office in the Ukrainian capital Kiev as well as Crimea’s Simferopol office before assuming her new role as attorney general. A staunch pro-Russian who described the Ukrainian authorities as ‘devils from the ashes’. She has also voiced criticism of the opposition protests in Ukraine and described the change of government in Kiev as an ‘anti-constitutional coup’.

These are interesting facts to peruse. Sadly, the attention has been directed at her good looks instead. Just days after she appeared on Russian media addressing journalists, Natalia’s personal photos spread online and were feasted on by the internet. The most popular photos being that of her in a black dress giving a seductive stare into the camera.

Almost as if they possessed the memory of a goldfish, many of her new fans quickly forgot why she was in the news in the first place. Instead, they turned into making cartoon drawings of Ms. Poklonskaya. Social media was also rife with comments about her Disney Princess beauty.

Some of these comments included:

‘Well, now we know the reason why Putin wants Crimea,’

NataliaPoklonskaya, the new Crimean prosecutor, could prosecute me any day.

Am I the only one who thinks Crimea’s new attorney-general is really hot?

Just this week, the Australian search and rescue party announced that the quest to find the plane will not be resolved “for weeks.” At the same time, Vladimir Putin surprised the world by withdrawing troops from the borders of the Crimean peninsula, with the international community looking to make diplomacy work with the Russians.

These are monumental developments, but we have to wonder: is the public aware?

As interesting as it may be, I’m sure Lt. Russell Adams and Atty. Gen. Natalia Poklonskaya both can get through the day without having to be told that they won the genetic lottery. On the other hand, there are dozens of grieving relatives of the missing flight passengers desperately waiting for any new updates on the search for the missing plane. There are thousands of Crimeans as well who are anxious if their homeland becomes a battlefield for a war between Ukraine and Russia.

What ever happened in the course of human history that the people have become so shallow? Can we blame this on capitalism? On consumerism? What ever it may be, we now live in a vain society and it is absolutely pathetic.

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